So apparently it’s National Margarita Day today, which means I cannot let this Friday end without a post on Chelsea’s very own tequila bar, Tonteria.
Located in a basement on Sloane Square, Tonteria is a must-go for all tequila fans. My first visit was with a tequila aficionado from Mexico, so she knew exactly what she was looking for. I, on the other hand, am not such an expert on tequila brands but having tried a fair amount of margaritas around the world in my time I consider my tastebuds well-trained. 😉
The tequila menu at Tonteria is long; I hadn’t realised there was so much to tequila. But in the end, my friend and I decided on her favourite tipple, Don Julio, which we didn’t knock back as a shot. Instead we sipped the tequila as if we were savouring a fine whiskey; that’s how it’s done in Mexico.
The margarita menu also spoils you for choice and I can wholeheartedly recommend trying something from it. The margaritas we tried had the right balance of flavours and bite.
A railway track also runs around the ceiling of the bar, delivering tequila shots to tables of which there are a few. But there aren’t so many tables that you could just walk in and nab one, unless it’s obviously a quiet night. So I would recommend booking a table, especially if you want to grab a seat and try Tonteria’s food menu. After around 10pm, the bar/restaurant turns into club when the tequila vibe takes on a whole other meaning, the Sloane Square way.
Almost a couple of years ago I had the shortest fringe and I mean short. I guess subconsciously I was angling for the Audrey Tautou Amelie look, although I can guarantee you mine wasn’t nearly as chic. Nevertheless, I couldn’t go to a hairdresser without giving my fringe another severe chop. So at some point I decided to avoid hairdressers altogether, so I could grow out my fringe. And given how fast my hair grows, this meant my hair became quite long quite quickly.
This long to be precise …
So when Wahanda offered me the opportunity to review their site and services, I decided that perhaps it was time to go for some kind of chop.
Before now, I had never tried a voucher service when booking a beauty treatment. I do follow Wahanda on Twitter because I like the way they interact with their followers. But I had yet to try their website.
The remit for my review was simple: just somewhere in the Kensington Area, which meant anywhere from South Kensington to North Kensington. So you can imagine, there were a lot of places and thus special offers to consider.
Trying to find somewhere to book was a bit of challenge. At first I didn’t know where to pick. Then I decided to look at the reviews and based on the positive feedback and number of stars, I finally decided on Gravity on Ladbroke Grove.
And I wasn’t disappointed. Admittedly my hair is quite easy to treat. It’s straight and thick, so it is low maintenance but I also enjoyed the friendly service at Gravity. Jason took his time and was considerate. He even snapped a couple of photos for me.
This is the after photo; so much hair ended up on the ground.
The ease of finding somewhere to have my haircut through Wahanda was emphasised by its online booking system, which was so simple to navigate. All I had to do was click on a date on the calendar; click on a time; and input my details. I then received a confirmation email for my appointment. Yep that’s right, I made my booking when it suited me and in a quick moment.
So all in all, I was very happy with my experience and of course with my haircut.
So Megan’s has opened up a new deli/restaurant further along the King’s Road, towards the Chelsea Town Hall. And at first I wasn’t so sure if this was a wise decision because there are some addresses on the King’s Road that seem to be perpetually having new businesses move in and months later move out: Megan’s had sprung up at one of these units.
But when I popped in to try out Megan’s new venue, I realised that my superstitions were obviously invalid. Megan’s new location was busy, busier than the fromagerie which had been here beforehand. Locals and passers-by knew exactly where to find Megan’s new address.
Here, the food which you can order to take-away from the deli counter or to eat at a table include salads and quiches.
Or you can order from the brunch and lunch menu …
The cakes are also very yummy…
And I love the attention to detail with the décor …
Along this strip of the King’s Road, you are quite spoilt for choice with Le Pain Quotidien and Gail’s Bakery only doors away. But if you are looking for somewhere that has a more personal/less chainy feel whilst producing food that is freshly made each day, with good ingredients, I wholeheartedly recommend that you check out Megan’s. It’s a bonafide local gem. x
I first discovered Robert Lepage’s work at the National Theatre when he brought Needles and Opium to London and ever since then I’ve been under the spell of this Quebecois director.
So needless to say, I was over the moon to hear that Lepage and his theatre company Ex Machina were returning to London with a new play. Playing Cards 1: Spades, with Hearts, Clubs and Diamonds to come.
Used to seeing Lepage’s work at the National Theatre and having seen The Dragon Trilogy at The Barbican, it was a refreshing change to watch his latest play at the Roundhouse. I love this venue and the last time I had been here was for the Gorillaz gig a couple of years ago; so it had been a while.
Spades is set in the round, which creates a sense of intimacy that is relevant to the storytelling of the play: several lives cross paths inside a Las Vegas hotel/casino and as an audience, we become voyeurs into the characters’ deepest and darkest secrets.
Every angle of the character is exposed whilst the stage mechanics manage to transport us from the Nevada desert to the different hotel rooms where the action takes place. The stage transforms itself from a spa jacuzzi to a hotel bar seamlessly.
But Lepage’s wizardry isn’t purely technical. The characters’ journeys are mesmerising and the choreography on stage hypnotising.
After watching the production that night, the audience were very fortunate to be able to watch Lepage being interviewed live on stage. Lepage discussed his working practice with Ex Machina as well as the development process of Spades. It was also fascinating to listen to Lepage talk about his evolution as an artist and the reasons why he decided to step away from the proscenium arch and onto the round stage, in order to break down the invisible barrier between the performers and the audience by getting rid of the fourth wall altogether.
For Lepage fans expecting to see theatricality reliant on projection screens, you may be disappointed by this production because Lepage has consciously moved away from filmic devices to aid his storytelling. Instead, Spades is a continuous work in progress that looks to examine the human condition through the lives of his characters and therefore it is ever evolving.
Robert Lepage is one of the most fascinating visionaries of our time and this is why I don’t mind my expectations being thwarted. The basis of good drama is the element of surprise and Lepage always manages to provide this, even if at times you’re not sure where he’s leading you. His theatre is pure theatricality that immerses you into another world. It is pure escapism on a dream-state level and I, for one, cannot wait for him to return to London with the next three playing cards.
After the fine weekend we’ve just had, I feel inspired to write about one of my favourite places to eat. In the springtime and summer, there’s nothing I love more than to be by the river. Combine that with my love for Mexican food, Wahaca along the South Bank has become one of the first places that spring to mind when I think about somewhere to eat.
The restaurant is located inside eight shipping containers that make for a pretty interesting interior. There are two floors and you can sit outside too. My favourite part of sitting upstairs, by the window, is the view that always reminds me of how wonderful London is.
The specials on the menu change every month but if you’re not familiar with Wahaca’s food in general expect Mexican street food. The portions are generally small and good for sharing, unless you decide on something like a burrito which is filling and plenty enough for one.
If you are new to Wahaca’s menu, it might be worth trying the tasting menu for two. This allows you to try different platters to find out which one(s) you like the most. Here is a selection of dishes as examples:
And at Wahaca, no meal would be complete without their churros. They’re very good here!
So thinking about eating and drinking by the river, do you have a favourite place where you like to hang out in the spring and summer? Care to share? x
Earlier this week I picked up my Valentine’s Day present from my local Aubaine restaurant on Brompton Cross.
It was slightly embarrassing because I had the bf with me and when I told him I needed to pick up a V-Day present, he initially thought it was for him. So I had to explain that this gift was actually from Aubaine themselves to me.
Excited about what was in the box, I opened it as soon as possible to find this peeking back at me:
A chocolate cake I thought and instantly I abandoned any idea of giving up chocolate for Lent. How could I? I love chocolate too much. And so I opened the box further to have a clearer look …
But as I looked closer, I realised it wasn’t a cake. It was actually a box. My present was inside a box made from Valrhona chocolate – but what was inside? Macarons! Macarons delivered in a chocolate box. Could there be anything better for my sweeth tooth?
Inside were two pistachio macarons and two raspberry …
Aubaine’s slogan for Valentine’s Day is “Say It With Flowers Macarons” and I couldn’t agree more. Flowers are always lovely but for Valentine’s, why not try something different? Macarons in a chocolate box is such a delectable experience and who says you can’t give both anyway?
For more information on Aubaine’s Valentine’s Day treats including the chance to win a Tiffany necklace with your V-Day dinner, click here.
Thank you very much Aubaine and Happy Valentine’s Day everyone!
I went to one of the best gigs I’ve ever had the luck of seeing last night: Kraftwerk at the Tate Modern. It was the sixth night in their eight date run of concerts, which you probably heard about with regards to the fans’ desperation to get tickets.
Tate’s website had crashed, the phone lines were jammed and mixed messages were being sent out to those trying to buy their way into one of the most anticipated concerts of recent times. I was on the phone on-and-off for eight hours. Not because I am a die-hard fan but because the bf is and I wanted Kraftwerk at the Tate Modern to be one of his Christmas presents. In the end, I called up the members’ line and was fast-tracked to the booking line, wishing that I had been informed that this was possible in the first place because of course I would have saved a lot of time.
Still, I cannot complain anymore because that day of pressing redial was so very worth it. The bf loved his pressie and a couple of friends who we invited along had an amazing time: the night being described as legendary.
But my write-up of last night’s gig isn’t going to attempt to riff on the geekery of Kraftwerk’s music. I’m not that much of a muso and I’ll probably risk offending die-hard Kraftwerk fans with my limited music knowledge.
So instead I’ll write this post from the perspective of an electro music fan. I love Daft Punk and have done so for years. When I watched Kraftwerk on stage, it was clear that this seminal German group are the Godfathers of electro. You could say that their appearance was reminiscent of Daft Punk’s style in Tron but then again, you would have to remember which came first.
Yet Kraftwerk wasn’t restricted to electro bleeps. There were also deep club beats that were very old school house and there was also a nod to the Detroit electronic music scene. We were almost at the front: not too close so we could enjoy the 3D visuals, but close enough to feel the bass pumping itself into the Turbine Hall.
The sounds had substance, the visuals were a true spectacle that were off-the-scale, and probably to the annoyance of those who couldn’t get tickets, the space was blissfully not crammed. It was an experience to soak up and every single minute was a true wonder.
Kraftwerk have two more nights to go: tonight and tomorrow. And whilst they are officially sold out, I’ve heard that ‘returns’ are being sold on the night. My friend’s cousin managed to buy a return on Saturday night at cost price (£60), having just waited from 8.30pm. The gig starts promptly at 9pm. We also bumped into someone who had bought a returned ticket last night. He had been waiting for two hours because he didn’t want to miss out: Techno Pop is his favourite Kraftwerk album. So, if you are desperate to buy a ticket, it isn’t too late to try – and you may not have to pay £500 or whatever is supposed to be the going price on ebay. Good luck!
To end my post, here are a few pics I took from last night. I took a lot more but sadly, they were too blurry to post.
I also recorded a video of their poptastic track, The Model:
And I uploaded a couple more clips onto my new Vine account: King’s Road Rocks.
Aero Dynamik was one of my favourite tracks of the night. Listening to it on You Tube doesn’t really do it justice but at 1.05 when the bass kicks in, and imagine it pumping hard through the Turbine Hall, Kraftwerk smashed it. (I didn’t record this video.)
If you managed to see Kraftwerk play at Tate Modern, which was your favourite moment (if you could choose one)? Or did you think it was all brilliant?
There are two reasons why I’m excited that it’s Pancake Tuesday tomorrow: 1. I love pancakes and 2. Because Pancake Day is essentially the eve of the first day of Lent, which means the countdown to Easter and thus springtime is about to begin. Oh yes!
Last year I celebrated Shrove Tuesday at The Botanist and I can’t recommend their one-day-only menu enough, especially the foie gras crêpe with wild mushrooms and cauliflower purée. The sweeter specials include blood orange Crêpe Suzette; a caramelised apple crêpe with vanilla ice cream and Calvados syrup; and a banana and chocolate crêpe with pistachio praline. Here is my post, which I wrote last year if you’d like to see some pics.
Unfortunately I’m not going to be able to indulge in pancakes tomorrow: the day looks packed and in the evening I’ll be at the Tate Modern for the Kraftwerk gig. So yesterday I popped into The Botanist to review their American pancakes which are served with cured crispy bacon and maple syrup, to make up for it.
The other week I was somewhere else and when I asked for some bacon on my pancakes, I was given a funny look. I had to explain that it was an American thing and whilst the woman was gracious about the whole confusion, I did feel slightly weird. So needless to say, yesterday I was very happy to be heading somewhere for breakfast that was on the same page as me.
And here is the dish, which is a permanent fixture on The Botanist’s breakfast menu.
The bf ordered the crêpe complète, which is a crêpe served with egg, bacon and gruyere cheese. And I have to admit I had slight food envy because it made me think back to the foie gras crêpe from last year.
For drinks I had an orange juice and a spinach and apple smoothie, which I was dubious about initially but which I actually liked. It wasn’t as spinachy as I’d imagined it would be.
The Botanist’s Shrove Tuesday menu is available for one day only (12th February 2013) but if you don’t get a chance to try it, there is always pancakes on the breakfast menu. Enjoy!
If you’re looking for somewhere new to try for brunch, have you dropped by Honky Tonk yet? I finally got round to trying it over the weekend, despite it being a stone’s throw away and I think it’s worth checking out.
Located on Hollywood Road, this New-York-styled bar and restaurant is quite a refreshing addition to the Chelsea scene. The restaurant’s design has created a nostalgic feel that takes us back to the 50s. And depending on which wall you are facing, you could be forgiven for feeling as if you were supposed to be dining in a large record-playing booth.
I managed to snap these photos when a few tables were cleared within minutes of each other, so the place wasn’t as empty whilst we were eating.
For our brunch, the bf and I both decided to go for a Full House breakfast which included bubble and squeak; tomatoes; a portobello mushroom; smokey barbecued baked beans; toasted brioche; and eggs. I had my eggs poached but I didn’t have my toast, which I donated to the bf’s plate instead.
What I loved about this brunch was that it wasn’t greasy at all. I love a good fry-up but most times I tend to enjoy them at home, replacing baked beans and toast with asparagus and slices of potatoes.
But Honky Tonk’s Full House breakfast won me over. The baked beans were a delightful surprise (because I love that BBQ flavour) and the bubble and squeak was light to eat.
To accompany our food, the bf had a caramel milkshake which he was impressed by whilst I had a freshly squeezed orange juice.
And whilst I had a delicious time here, I’m now curious to see what the evening ambiance has to offer. Honky Tonk has an impressive-looking cocktails menu and the American food menu looks good too. So making sure that we were definitely coming back, I booked a table for in a couple of weeks time as we were leaving. Admittedly I am quietly excited that this new Chelsea hangout is practically on my doorstep and I’d love to see the bar come to life!
I am so excited about writing this post – one just for the ladies! If you fancy feeling spoiled for an afternoon and spending quality time with your girlfriends, then you must read on.
The venue is Bar Galante, which some of you may know is one of my favourite bars in Chelsea and this free women-only event includes treatments from Bliss Spa, who are normally located across the road. You can see their front door from the bar if you sit by one of the windows.
When you arrive, you receive a pair of slippers which you can wear in the bar (a lot of girls did) as well as a goodie bag with Bliss products.
During the afternoon, the Bliss staff are on hand to provide massages and manicures with Essie polish.
This is the colour I picked.
And as well as these spa treatments, there are screens placed around the bar with films playing …
… which you can listen to with the headphones provided. They showed Friends With Benefits and a Ryan Reynolds movie (sorry, I’m not sure what it’s called). In other words, a chick flick and eye candy were provided. 😉
When you arrive at the bar, you also receive a free champagne cocktail. And thereafter, there is a special Sunday Sanctuary cocktail menu which you can order from. The cocktails include Classic Bellini; Breakfast Martini; and Bloody Mary Martini (£10-£12), as well as non-alcoholic cocktails such as Strawberry & Basil Lemonade; Green Martini and Berry Blast (£4.25). I also saw groups of friends order bottles of wine between them. And if you’re feeling peckish, there is also a bar snack menu to order food from.
Some ladies were sitting around and chatting whilst others sat back and watched the movies. Others were enjoying their spa treatments, either listening to the music playing in the bar or whilst watching a film with their headphones on. The whole atmosphere was very chilled and indulgent. In other words it really was the best way to spend a Sunday afternoon in February.
If you’re interested in booking a table for you and your girlfriends, all you have to do is email RSVP@BARGALANTE.COM. There are two time slots: 1pm and 3pm and like I said, this is a free event. So I just have to ask, what’s stopping you? 😉